I cannot count my day complete
'Til needle, thread and fabric meet.
~Author Unknown

Sharing a common thread with those who love the art of hand embroidery

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Would you like to see the first things I embroidered?

Going though my linen closet, I pulled out the very old stash of some of the things I first embroidered starting at the age of 10. With some of you starting embroidery, I thought you might like to see how extremely bad I was starting out. Of course, being young, I thought every thing I stitched was a masterpiece and often gave them away as presents to my family. I shudder to think what they must have thought. So do not blame me for your sore eyes after taking a look at these primitive and very stained pieces. I have them soaking now after I saw how bad they looked!
This I a dresser scarf that I stitched when I was 10. My mom and I were in Benjamen Franklin's store(do you remember those stores?) when we found a pile of the ready to embroider pieces. She let me pick the piece I liked, let me pick out the floss I wanted, and I could not wait to get home to stitch. I don't think she saw me all weekend except at the supper table. I stayed in my room, stitching away!
Here is the close up. I did not know how to do french knots, satin stitch, or how to make tiny stitches for the little tie on the dog's head. My mother would sit and show me over and over. She was so patient.

As the years went by, I got better and when I was a freshman in high school, I made a practice cloth of some of my favorite transfer designs. (can you tell I didn't have a boy friend at that time?)As you can see, the unfinished red dye on some. I am so glad they don't use red dye anymore! I never finished it,(was it the boy friend?) but it was a good thing to practice on. I spent many hours doing this. I think you can click on the picture for a better look, but beware!
One thing I have noticed is that I used more brilliant and bright colors when I was a young girl than I do now. I loved striking blues and deep reds.

I hope these stains come out! I almost did not post this piece!

I was blessed with a sweet and kind Home Economics teacher, Mrs. Ellis. She always encouraged us to get things ready for the upcoming fair each year. She would then take our things and enter them. Above is a tablecloth that I won a blue ribbon for. I used this cloth so much through the years, that the middle has holes and if you take a closer look, you can see the threads getting bare. I still love this design and am going to trace off the pattern so that I can make another. The center has a big ring with criss- cross lines going through it. I don't enter my things at the fair now, however.
And here is that bird pattern I had talked about in a recent post. This is one of Aunt Martha's wonderful transfer designs.
And now here we are at present date. This is a dresser scarf I made for a gift store in town. The lady loved my embroidery and had me make a dozen of these and several other items. They always sold and I was very busy. She would meet with me once a month to go over the next designs and what she would like in her store. I loved this. The store has been closed for a few years now and she has moved away. Notice my color change now that I am older?
Another kind of embroidery I love is cut work. This work is done on the end edges of the tea pot scarf in the recent photo. This is the kind of work I did for the designer in Boston and for a lady in Virginia. She had beautiful white dresses and trusted me to cut and embroider on them. The designer in Boston had silk garments and sent matching silk thread for me to work with. They also trusted me cutting the garments to stitch.

And you have seen this picture before, this is the tablecloth I am working on to finish. I am getting excited as it is getting closer to getting done. But you can see the style of my embroidery has changed over the years. I started the traditional way and then found my own voice in how I wanted to express the stitches. That is what I would like to encourage each of you to do. When you find your own style, it just makes you feel so much better when you stitch. It is a piece of yourself!.....but as I always say..... enjoy the process! I feel that is what it is all about!


papel1 said...

I love all the embroideries you did years ago. They are lovely and treasures to keep.

Vintage Linen Treasures said...

Oh my gosh! I LOVE these pieces (especially the poodle). They are great and I'm so glad you shared them. It gave me goose bumps looking at all the pictures. Thank you so much for posting them!
Patricia :o)

Vintage Linen Treasures said...

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LindaSueBuhl said...

How fun to see where you started - I loved the poodle! I have a purse made from a kit probably in 1970 or so - it is crewel work though. I am getting inspired by you - a magazine showed doing very simple stitches on the edges of pillow cases and bed sheets to create more dramatic linens. I may try that - won't ever sit still long enough to do elaborate work but maybe just maybe I'll do the pillowcases!

Pam said...

How wonderful to have those pieces...they really are treasures.

Farm Chick Paula said...

They are all beautiful, Kathleen... even the one you did at 10!
Which confirms my belief that you must have come out of the womb with and embroidery needle in one hand and floss in the other! LOL
I love the bird, too... but your flowers are just gorgeous.
(The rooster is my favorite, though! LOL- imagine that)

Gina E. said...

Hi Kathleen, I discovered you through Pat at Vintage Linen Treasures, and have just spend a lovely half hour reading your blog. It is delightful! If I'd had time, I would have posted a comment on several of your posts, but it's after midnight here in Melbourne, and my bed is beckoning! But I'll be back, and I'll be adding you to my sidebar!
Gina at Patra's Place,
Melbourne, Australia

The Romantic Portuguese Daughter said...

Hello there!

I came to you via Vintage Linen Treasures. I love your embroidery. I have been working on some of my first pieces...which I will be posting pictures of later today. I'm going to check out the book you suggested. I have it on hold for me at the library. LOL!

Thanks again!
Pink Portuguese Roses

Maryjane - The Beehive Cottage said...

Hello Kathleen!

How sweet is your handwork, even when you were a child and to still have it is a blessing! I to had teachers that made an imprint on my heart forever...I loved Home Economics and majored in it in high school. I always got A's because that was the desire of my heart, sewing & cooking! I wish I lived closer to you Kathleen! What fun we would have!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!


Linda said...

Hi Kathleen, I loved seeing your first piece...what a treasure and all your other work too.

You were very talented even at 10, your amazing stitching is a true gift.

I can't remeber how I originaly found your blogs, but I am so happy I did. You are so inspirational, it's a joy visiting you. Hugs, Linda

p.s. hava a happy Memorial weekend. L

Cami said...

These are wonderful! I actually crafted more between boyfriends too! ROFL! Really neat pieces. And I remember the Benjamin Moore's. Some are still open.

Sugarplum Cottage said...

You have a wonderful talent. I have always wanted to embroider, but never learned how. I do sew and cross-stitch. Through the years I have bought all the old transfers and pattens I could find in hopes of one day I'd learn how to embroider. There is no doubt, yours is perfect.

Hugs, RoseMarie

Lea of Farmhouse*Blessings said...

I still think they're masterpieces. How lovely to see that you started the art so young and continue to love and enjoy it. Your work is simply beautiful. I'm going to look at all your photos again now!


shirl said...

Hello Kathleen, What a treasure that you held on to these all these years. I love your sampler of patterns. Just like the Victorians used to do. I loved HomeEc too, but we never did touch on embroidery. Which is my passion. I love the poodle dog, so sweet! Thank you for stoppng my by blog, I have to catch up on yours, I've missed a few posts!
Blessings, Shirl